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Northwind Imperial Stout - Two Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Northwind Imperial StoutNorthwind Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

406 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 406
Hads: 881
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 17.77%
Wants: 27
Gots: 67 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 05-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 406 | Hads: 881
Photo of brewcrew76
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep black with 2 fingers of brown head.

S - Roasted malt, coffee and dark chocolate. This smell is slightly overpowered by a lactic vegetal sourness.

T - The vegetal sourness in the aroma is the dominating flavor. Hints of roasted malt and dark chocolate but it is tough to get past the vegetal taste.

M - A little thin for an Impy Stout.

D - Not a very good beer. It is really tough to get past the vegetal taste.

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Photo of klewis
2.86/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lot 36, listed at 8.5% ABV

A: Pours black with a tiny bubbly head. Very little lacing.

S: A nice malty aroma of mocha and cocoa.

T: Tastes like cocoa powder with a vegetal, celery-like finish. The flavor is thin for an impy stout and for a "big beer".

M: Medium-thin bodied and a bit fizzy, especially for the style. A bit chalky.

D: Thin, watery, and just plain off for the style. Pass.

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Photo of negroobserver
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

North-Wind Imperial Stout
45 IBU, 9.1% ABV
12 oz Bottle

Poured into a large Brandy snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black color. Very small cream colored head, which dissipates quickly and leaves behind a thin foamy rim on the edge of the glass.

S: Smells smoky. Has a very mild malty and chocolatey aroma at the back end. A very faint sweet licorice or vanilla like aroma. No dominant scents here, but I like that the vanilla aroma is almost hidden. This is my third bottle and this is the first time I've noticed it. Interesting, but disappointing that the last few weren't at the same level as this bottle.

T: Mostly flat and tasteless. Dark roasted malts. There is a smoky chalky taste which lingers in the mouth. Slight sour and hoppy quality.

M: The beer has some depth, but not the kind of rich texture that you would expect from an Imperial class beer. It doesn't coat the glass or the mouth in the way that an Imperial Stout should. At best, it has the depth and texture of a standard stout. At 9.1% ABV, I can't smell or taste the alcohol in the beer, which makes me question the validity of the company's claims regarding the ABV content. Or it could be that this is one of the better crafted beers on the market in that respect. Who knows?

Overall, I had great hopes for this beer and was hoping that this was a rare exception to the pricy Imperial Stouts that one finds on the market. Sadly, I feel like I was duped by the company into buying an inferior product which appears to be very misleading in its claims.


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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The imperial stout category is something of a category of giants. Looking at the other beers of this style I've reviewed, they've been largely excellent. Dark Lord, Old Rasputin, Great Divide Yeti, Brooklyn Black Chocolate, Great Lakes Blackout, and Alesmith Speedway Stout are all fantastic beers full of lots of dry roastiness and full mouthfeels. And this one fell short, at least compared to those others. While I'm a big fan of Two Bros beers, I thought this one was disappointing and not very drinkable. Flavor was not very roasty and mouthfeel was a bit watery. And maybe it was when I had it in my evening, but this beer made me feel exceptionally full which led me not to finish it. Unfortunately, the next day I'm unable to articulate what exactly it was I objected to.

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Photo of Jettanbass9
2.94/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - nearly jet black but still is permiable by light. Light tan head barely holds on to the glass.

S - Anise, licorice, dark caramel and dark fruits. Strong pale malt aromas. Whats lacking? oh yea, roast.... I can't help but to ding a few points for not getting as much roast in a beer like this. Major flaw.

T - Tons of anise and licorice, dark fruit and some roast poking through. No hop flavor. Very clean fermentation, no yeast character.

M - Full mouthfeel and light carbonation, slick on the tounge. Good mineral balance.

D - The beer goes back easy but misses the mark on the style's coined boldness. A sipper, definitely, however needs some help in the roast area of flavor and aroma. Two Brothers, please revamp this beer.

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Photo of craytonic
2.97/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: BLack pour, nearly flat, no head or lacing
Smell: Chocolate, fudge, coffee, very simple and almost one-dimensional
Taste: Similar, lots of chocolate, fudge, and a hint of coffee; a bit sweet
Mouthfeel: a bit thin and sticky
Drinkability: one and done, never again.

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Photo of rmp5262
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Recently I have been drinking Speedway stout, Ten-Fidy, and Bell's Expedition Stouts so I have acquired a taste for the more thick stouts.

Appearance: Black, more translucent than other russian imperial stouts. Aggressively poured with a brown head of one finger that dissipated quickly. Carbonation bubbles could be seen on the glass.

Smell: Dull smell that closely resembles a dark ale or porter.

Taste: Tastes like a porter, smooth with hints of chocolate and malt. Hides the alcohol well

Mouthfeel: Very thin, almost watery. Too much carbonation for a stout

Overall: Okay beer, I wouldn't get this again.

Serving type: Poured from bottle into a stout glass

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Photo of Greywulfken
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: nearly opaque, but some dark brown translucence around the edges; dark tan head

S: mild roasted malt

T: more toward the bitter/dry end of the imperial stout spectrum; burnt notes, faint cocoa/chocolate notes

M: lighter than other imperial stouts, more carbonation, very slight astringency

O: as always, if you like stouts/imperial stouts it is worth a try. For me, the gold standard in stouts is Old Rasputin. This beer is not as smooth or mellow, and it is not as sweet either. A decent beer, but not something that I would purchase again unless I craved a stout and had no other choices available.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Everything about this beer cries mediocre. The head never really flourished and left only tiny hints of cling. The nose was roasty, in that day old coffee gound way.

And the taste? Mmm, unremarkably stout-y. Major hints of rubber and weirdly used hop tones.

Thin on mouthfeel and with a strangely annoying sting blend of hops and dry roastiness. I like some of Two Brother's beers ... but this just has average written all over it.

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Photo of beckje01
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Black color with no activity and a big tan head.

S- Astringent smell and a hint of sweet.

T- A slight hop taste then malt it's ok very astringent the chocolate malt is ok but could play a bigger part to add to the complexity.

M-Nice thickness and activity.

D- Ok, not great I probably wouldn't have again there are much better examples of the style but this is average.

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Photo of waldowin
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an inky black, but thin. The decent dark brown head forms quickly, and fades almost as quickly.

Smells of coffee and figs, pretty simple but not unpleasant.

Taste is of roast, coffee, and a hint of figs. Not very strong, but the alcohol is nonexistant in the taste.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for what I expected, and slightly acidic. Not a very smooth drinker.

The harsh flavors and the thin body, combined with the higher ABV of this beer means one bottle is almost more than I'd want.

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Photo of ZAP
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can't believe they call this an Imperial Stout...It's a decent tasting "Stout" if you leave the "Imperial" out of it...It is medium bodied rather than over-the-top thick...the nose is mainly cocoa and coffee beans but very soft....the taste is burnt malts and some coffee beans but lacks complexity....finishes with a bit of a hop bite which is surprising given the low IBU...Call this a "Stout" and it rates high "3's"...as an "Imperial" I feel I'm being generous giving it low "3"'s...no carbonation at all hardly and that combined with the creamy texture allows this to be very drinkable as a "Stout"...not as an Imperial...I want more....I deserve more....If a beer is called Imperial it should have more than just a high ABV..I feel like I'm being too hard on this because as I drink it is is pretty decent....it's just not close to being a good "Imperial Stout"...

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Photo of Kegatron
3.04/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap @ the Two Brothers Tap House on 8/9/09. Served in a snifter.

Pours an abosolute black, with a thin smattering of light mocha colored head on top. Retains with a fizzy look around the edges, leaving some minimal lace back. The aroma is generally dark and roasty smelling, with some thicker malt notes of chocolate and caramel. Green citrus and dark fruits emerge as well, as this warms.

The taste is more dark roast, with thickish notes of chocolate and toffee sweetness. Touch of fruits and coffee as well. Roast and fruit linger into the finish, which is probably the best part. Much like the aroma (and even to a lesser extent), I'm waiting for this profile to cut loose, and it never does. All of the flavors start up but then just never delivers anything memorable. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a fuller bulky creaminess in some spots, but then seems really light in others. Inconsistent feel to say the least.

An average Imperial Stout at best. Just nothing here overly impressed me, save the aroma, which finally got going a bit once it hit room temp. This was my second time experiencing this beer (the first was in the bottle) and my opinion remains unchanged.

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Photo of chinchill
3.06/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap at Tall Paul's (FL).

Pours essentially black with a lght tan head that has good retentino and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The smell is a bit sweet, there's roasted malt, chocolate, and a hint of caramel and toffee.

Taste: Dark roasted grains. A touch of sour and only a faint bit of dark fruit. Coffee, smoke and dark chocolate in the finish.

Feel: reasonablt smooth; medium-full body.

Overall: a poor example of the style although the high ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful bowling ball black with a creamy tan head builds out of no where and hangs around with fantastic retention and ok lace.

S - Nice crisp roast with deep cocoa and coffee highlights. Slight sour/musty edges.

T - Relatively light. Hammy smoke, char, and dark roast coffee.

M - Thin body for the style. Hides the 9% well though.

O - I'm ambivalent about the smoke, but overall it's the light body that really hurts the profile.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle on 1/27/10

A - Pours a pitch black with just a layer of tiny bubbles on the surface.

S - roasted malts, bitter sweet chocolate

T - nicely balanced roasted malts, chocolate and just a hint of some hops

M - smooth, creamy, medium bodied, light carbonation

D - nothing earth shattering, easy to drink, smooth, but i probably won't search it out again.

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Photo of birchstick
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours a black color without much of a head

S - smells of roasted coffee and rich chocolates

T - starts off with some sweet cocoa that quickly becomes some roasted malt / coffee that fades to some dark chocolates. Not uber complex or deep, but very rich overall with its flavors.

M - medium to full body with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Pretty solid mouthfeel.

D - I can't say this was my favorite RIS I have ever had, but it was pretty delicious. For the price I paid, this was a pretty good deal.

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Photo of BB1313
3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours black with a nice fluffy khaki, off-white head. This one leaves nice film and lacing. The aromas are very malty. There are subtle hints of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch. There's also some black coffee in the aromas as well. The flavors are pretty typical for a Russian Imperial Stout. Roasted chocolate is there giving it a decent bitterness. There's also some roasted coffee in the mix as well. There's barely any alcohol noticeable. Finishes pretty bitter. Mouthfeel is pretty nice. It's light and watery, but smooth and fluffy. Moderate carbonation. Easy drinking.

This is basically just an average Russian Imperial Stout. Not bad, but there's really nothing that makes it stand out.

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Photo of frazbri
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing had a black body topped by a thick, tall, tan head. The aroma contained notes of dark chocolate and coffee with an underlying fruitiness. Cocoa and charcoal were two of the main flavor components. Body was medium/full with moderate carbonation.

This stout was most notable for it's roasty flavor. Beyond the roastiness, it needed to be amped up a little more to be a great impy. Imperial stouts are not subtle beers. Northwind needed more body and flavor.

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Photo of jsh420
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

batch #3508

pours jet black with a 1 finger head that fades fast and leaves no lacing

smell cocoa and sweet dark fruits

taste is a little thin - dark fruit coco and cola?

mouthfeel is very thin for a RIS

drinkability is so so - i want more from a RIS

overall there are better irish dry's then this - not a beer i will seek out again but will see how it ages

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Photo of Jredner
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is fairly hoppy, but with an odd lager-like aroma and very little roastiness, but some minor coffee notes. A deep black body lies beneath a dminishing mocha hued thin film of a head. Flavor is a nicely burnt/roasted melange of coffee and dark chocolate, hearty dark fruits and malt. Alcohol is almost unoticeable and the palate is thinnish.

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Photo of ProfessorHops
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I served myself this beer in a pint sized frosted mug. Unfortunately this alter the natural appearance. But the bottle I bought was self weight and not refrigerated. I wanted to taste this brew badly and fast. My first Imperial stout...

I poured it into the mug. It's appearance is very bold and sinister. Beer poured like most stouts.

First taste I was surprised in the flavor. A hallow maltness, with elements of spring water and cedar.

The pallet is very fast and the finish seams to strike more earlier than most brews. The finish is long and hard and introduces the accents of the drinks flavor of coffee and chocolate.

I'm more of a fan of easer to drinks beers, and this one is not at all easy to drink. It burns and is very filling, but with that said I really enjoyed this brew. The long finish with it's very detailed avenues of maltness. This beer taste awesome. But drinks honorably. Which is perfect for the style.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.17/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap, in a pint glass at Bodega in Columbus, OH on 1/2/10

A - Dark brown, nearly black in color. 1/8th inch layer of tan head. Thin retention. No lacing.

S - Subtle nose of roasted malts. Notes of coffee & earthy hops. Dark sugars & faint dark fruit, maybe prunes.

T - Plenty of chocolate with mild coffee notes. Undertones of brown sugar & molasses. Roasted dark malts. Modest hop twinge around the edges with hints of citrus. Rather sweet. Something in there seems almost medicinal.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation; it's smooth & creamy. A bit of alcohol slickness is present.

D - Easy enough to drink; it's decent overall. Not particularly interesting & maybe a touch too sweet.

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Photo of mmcave
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased at Sams and cracked at a time when I was. Chilled a little under cellar and then thrown under warm water to expedite the process. Used a tumbler, the color is dark coffee black, with half inch tan nougat color head, with expectable lacing. Smells slight fruit esters which I did not expect in a RIS, but this is not necessarily unwelcome. There is some toffee, coffee, grape-ness. The taste is decent, but I feel like its lacking in several key areas namely strength, body and focus. Where I was expecting these things I got a couple other interesting things like some fruit and maybe some extra chocolate or coffee than usual, but these things to me do not make up the lack of the other stuff. This is not a bad RIS, but after tasting the good stuff "storm king", stuff like this is far less tasty. I for sure will not buy this again, but if it comes to you for free try it and you'll better understand the good stuff.

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Photo of Treebs
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a Deschutes Snifter on Thanksgiving.

A: Pours a black color with dark brown edges. Looks a little thin. 2 finger light khaki head forms on the pour with pretty decent retention and a very bubble body.

S: Roasted biscuit malts and slight baker chocolate. Not really pungent and I have dig for it. Very light.

T: Slightly roasty and bitter bakers chocolate with some toasted malts. Again it dissipates quickly like the nose leaving a little more to be desired.

M: A little too thin and not much flavor retention on the palate.

O: Too thin a little and a little one dimensional in terms of the flavor profiles. Not a bad beer, but not one I'm going to seek out again.

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Northwind Imperial Stout from Two Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.